10 Accessories You Need to Upgrade Your iPad

Cristopher Centers

Apple announced a brand-new version of the iPad Air at an event it held on September 15. The update brings a totally refreshed design, the fastest processor available on any iPhone or iPad. While the new model doesn’t ship until October, we’ve rounded up the best accessories that’ll work with […]

Apple announced a brand-new version of the iPad Air at an event it held on September 15. The update brings a totally refreshed design, the fastest processor available on any iPhone or iPad.

While the new model doesn’t ship until October, we’ve rounded up the best accessories that’ll work with Apple’s latest-and-greatest iPad. We’ve also made sure to include gear that’s compatible with current versions of the iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. We’ve also provided alternatives to many of our picks if it only works with one or two devices.

The iPad bridges the gap between a traditional laptop and ultra portable tablet, and the accessories below can help you use it more productively and creatively.

1. AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro are Apple’s latest totally-wireless earbuds, and they work with every model of iPad, iPhone, Mac released in the past few years. Their most notable feature is active noise cancellation, which uses microphones to filter out unwanted sounds.

This feature is rare in earbuds, and the AirPods Pro do an impressive job blocking out consistent sounds, like noise from a subway, plane, or bus. The AirPods Pro get five hours of battery life, but get recharged every time they’re inside their charging case. The case gives the AirPods Pro an additional 18 hours of battery life before it has to be charged. Apple’s tech rarely goes on sale, but the AirPods Pro are down to their lowest price ever.

If you prefer on-ear or over-ear headphones, we recommend Shure’s AONIC 50 and Marshall’s MID ANC models instead.

2. RAVPower 61W PD 3.0 Wall Charger

The new iPad Air has a USB-C port, which means you can connect it to a fast charging power adapter without a special Lightning to USB-C cable.

This one from RAVPower has a USB-C PD (power delivery port), that can deliver up to 61W of electricity. It’s powerful enough to charge your iPad Air, iPad Pro, or even a 13-inch MacBook Air at their fastest charging speeds.

The adapter also has a standard USB-A port on it, so you can charge a smaller gadget (think Bluetooth headphones) while charging your larger device. When both ports are begin used, the USB-C PD’s power output will be limited to 41W.

If you want to use this power adapter to fast charge an iPhone or previous generations of the iPad and iPad Air, you will need a Lightning to USB-C cable.

3. Anker 5-in-1 USB C Adapter

The iPad only has one port, but Anker’s hub lets you get a lot more out of it. It has two USB-A ports for accessories, an SD and MicroSD card for memory cards, and an HDMI out port, so you can connect your iPad to a TV or external monitor.

Plug this adapter into the new iPad Air or iPad Pro (2018 or later), and you can use any of its ports as if they were built into the tablet.

4. Apple Magic Keyboard

You can use your iPad with any Bluetooth keyboard, but the new Air (and iPad Pro models released after 2018) support Apple’s Magic Keyboard.

This full-sized keyboard becomes magnetically attached to your iPad, and allows you to adjust the tablet to a comfortable viewing angle. Its standout feature is the built-in track pad, which lets you navigate the iPad using Mac-like gestures. The track pad also brings up a cursor, which you can use to select objects (text, for example), or tap buttons as if you were using a mouse.

This keyboard case is only available for Pro iPads and the new iPad Air, but Logitech has a similar one (without the trackpad) for the entry-level iPad.

5. Xbox Wireless Controller

Xbox Wireless Controller

You’ve been able to pair Bluetooth game controllers to iOS devices for years, but Apple recently implemented support for the official Xbox Wireless Controller.

This controller was designed for serious gaming, so it’s lightweight, extremely accurate, and comfortable to hold. This is the controller I use with my iPad Pro, and have had excellent results.

It’s important to know that not all iOS games have controller support, so you should definitely check to see if you can use the Xbox Wireless Controller with your favorite titles.

6. SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD

You can’t upgrade an iPad’s internal storage, but you can connect an external SSD to the tablet, and add more space that way.

Samsung’s T7 gets our recommendation because it’s small, extremely fast, and can hold a lot of files (we’re recommending the 500GB model). Using an external SSD with an iPad is different than using it with a Mac. You can’t do full system backups to it, or use it to store files from third-party apps like Spotify or Netflix.

You can move photos, music, and video files from your personal collection onto the drive, but can’t use it as the primary location for new ones. For instance, if you take a photo on your iPad, it won’t automatically be stored on this drive, you’ll have to move it over manually.

Despite these limitations, the Samsung T7 is an excellent accessory if you need to carry around a lot of large files, or want an easy way to transfer important data between your iPad and a Mac. This drive is only compatible with iPads that have a USB-C port.

7. Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)

Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)

The Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) is the company’s first-party stylus. It’s pressure sensitive, hyper response, and charges by magnetically attaching itself to the wireless iPad Connector on the side of your tablet.

While the Pencil is primarily an artists tool, it can be used to for any iPad-related task, like opening apps, scrolling through web pages, and editing text or photos.

This version of the Apple Pencil is only compatible with the iPad Air and iPad Pro (2018 or later). If you have a previous generation iPad Pro, iPad (2018 or later) or iPad Air (2019 or later), you can use the first-generation Apple Pencil instead.

8. LG 27UK850-W 4K Monitor

If you get the new iPad Air, or have an iPad Pro (2018 or later), you can connect it to 4K monitor with a USB-C cable. We recommend LG’s 27UK850-W because it’s slim, and has an ample amount of inputs (ports), so you can use it with your iPad, Computer, or a gaming console.

Once connected, your iPad’s screen will be mirrored (copied) onto the monitor, so you can see the apps you’re in on a larger display. In some cases, apps will allow you to “extend” your display, showing different information on the monitor and the iPad’s screen.

If you’d like to connect an older iPad to an external display or TV, you’ll need  Apple’s Lightning Digital AV adapter and an HDMI cable.

9. Focusrite Scarlett Solo

Focusrite’s Scarlett Solo can help turn your iPad Air or iPad Pro (2018 or later) into a professional recording studio. The audio interface can be connected directly your tablet’s USB-C port, which will supply power in addition to data, so you won’t need to worry about using an outlet.

The Scarlett Solo has one microphone preamp and one 1/4-inch instrument input, so you can record vocals and a guitar or bass at the same time. You can adjust the volume of both inputs independently, and monitor (listen) to your recording in real-time by plugging a pair of headphones into its headphone jack.

This compact audio interface can record 24-bitmusic at a sample rate of up to 192kHz, which is far better than CD-quality. If you’re a musician who wants an extremely portable rig for producing high quality demos, this is a good choice.

10. AUKEY 30000mAh Portable Charger

Apple says all models of the iPad should get about 10 hours of active use per charge, but having a high-powered battery can extend that a lot further.

AUKEY’s 30000mAh battery holds enough power to fully recharge the previous generation iPad Air 2.8 times, and you should expect similar results with Apple’s new model. The battery has one USB-C PD (power delivery) port, which can be used to fast charge your phone or tablet, and two USB-A ports, which should be used with less power-hungry tech, like Bluetooth speakers.

This battery pack can be used with any model of iPad, and it’s an essential accessory if you travel often, or like to work outside of your home.

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